Surgical and pharmacological management of the motor-based symptoms of PD has made great strides over the last few decades. The behavioral management of the speech and voice symptoms however, has not grown by the same leaps and bounds. Despite the prevalence of speech and voice symptoms associated with PD, few evidence-based treatment options are currently available. In the face of good efficacy data, the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD) program continues to be the gold standard for voice treatment. LSVT LOUD trains patients to monitor and adjust their vocal intensity when they perceive that their voice is soft. Therefore, the success of LSVT LOUD is predicated, in part, on an individual's ability to self-monitor and self-cue (internal cueing) during speech production. While LSVT LOUD has fostered significant improvements in communication for many patients with PD, not all patients respond to treatment. It has been postulated that underlying sensory and cognitive factors may hinder treatment outcomes. A new behavioral treatment for speech and voice impairment has recently been introduced. The SpeechViveTM, a small in-the- ear device, uses an external noise cue to elicit louder speech. While LSVT LOUD and the SpeechViveTM have both been shown to significantly increase sound pressure level (SPL) in patients with PD, the physiologic adjustments supporting these changes in SPL remain unclear. This is an important area of study for two reasons. First, both treatments are exercised-based programs, yet the physiologic changes associated with these treatments are not well understood. Second, there is evidence to suggest that the use of an external cue, such as the noise cue used in SpeechViveTM training, elicits more efficient respiratory patterns in neurologically-healthy and neurologically-involved patients, in comparison to self-initiated cueing strategies, such as those used in LSVT LOUD. This study proposes to compare the influence of cueing strategy on treatment outcomes by examining simultaneous respiratory-laryngeal adjustments before and after participation in LSVT LOUD (internal cueing) and SpeechViveTM (external cueing) training. It is important to study respiratory-laryngeal interactions because both of these subsystems contribute to vocal intensity regulation. In addition, exercise physiology studies have indicated that internal and external forms of cueing elicit different perceptions of physical and mental effort during exercise. It is important to understand the patients' level of perceived physical and mental effort, associated with each treatment program, as these variables can effect adherence to the treatment regime. In summary, the proposed study is intended to 1) fill a critical void in our understanding of respiratory-laryngeal adjustments used to support increased SPL under two evidence-based behavioral voice treatment programs, and 2) to better understand how patients' perceptions of physical and mental effort are shaped by each treatment paradigm. The information generated in this study could potentially lead to more efficient voice rehabilitation for persons with PD.
This project addresses several issues related to the clinical management of speech and voice disorders associated with Parkinson?s disease. Two behavioral treatment programs are assessed in their ability to improve communication by eliciting positive physiological changes across the speech mechanism.